An Appeal to the Peace Corps

This is a personal statement submitted to the Peace Corps. February this year, I was denied pre-medical clearance due to my mental health history. This is my story…

Appeal to the Peace Corps 2014

The summer 2001, I arrived in Chicago after spending a year living with my sister in Texas. For over a year, I did not have a parental figure that disciplined. My grades in school were above average; at 16 years of age I had a handle on how to take care of myself. My mother and I clashed often after I moved back into her home. We disagreed about how I should spend my free time and whom I should spend it with. Looking back on it, I realize how insignificant our disagreements were. We didn’t spend much time in my youth bonding and more than anything, I wanted to feel that she cared. Even now, I do not have a relationship with my mother. When family members came to visit in early August 2001, I confronted my mother after she yelled at me about an argument my cousin. This only made her more furious so she yelled some more. Broken and hopeless, I made a choice to end my never-ending suffering of family woes.

 When hospitalized, I was often questioned about my reasons for wanting to end my life. And often, my mother was present. Her presence made it difficult for me to be honest without hurting her feelings. Fearful of her response, I didn’t want to return home. At the suggestion of another psych ward patient, who had some previous experience with psychiatrists, I told the doctor I was hearing voices. At the time I thought to do whatever I could to stay far away from a home with my mother. So I lied. The consequences of this lie were not something I could’ve foreseen. Outside of the dreaded medication and the diagnosis, it is now a hindrance to my acceptance into the Peace Corps.

 Since my attempt, I have lived in many communities throughout the states and have traveled to a couple other countries. Adjustment into these communities, being loved and accepted by community members and contributing to the common good has been my strengths. Throughout my life I have been determined to exercise good judgment and personal responsibility to protect my health, safety and well-being, and that of others. The 8th Core Expectation has been prevalent in my actions throughout my growth, as have some of the others.

 Everyone has evolved since 2001, myself included. I am not the diagnosis on those discharge papers. Not then and definitely not presently. The year after my attempt I learned both meditation and yoga and these two tools have drastically improved my life. These tools are a part of my daily life. These tools allow me to have the physical and mental capacity to do the essential functions of my Peace Corps assignment regardless of what that may be.

 In 2012 after losing five people within a year span, I sought therapy. Every person that I know would have done exactly the same thing. You seek help when you need it. And in this case I was not capable of processing the heavy load of grief without professional counseling. This does not show a lack of stability; in fact this indicates my level of sanity. Concerns of isolation and feelings of safety seem to me a natural concern when living in a foreign community, but my concerns are far from a limitation. They are merely an awareness of all the aspects of service with the Peace Corps. With the tools mentioned above, I do not need any mental health care. Years of my life I have struggled to process the experiences of my youth and I have been ready, for a while now, to move forward with my life and make lasting change in our global community.

R.adical O.rganizing A.gainst R.ape

PussyRiotWedge

The last two weeks have been busier than ever. Once the anti-rape culture movement landed on my front door, I knew I had to act. Years of my life, I struggled with everything rape culture represents. And no person should EVER blame themselves after being violated.

March 8th, R.O.A.R. protested at a local bar, Brothers. The protest was not specific to the site per se but a specific message for all bars in the Iowa City Area. Bystander training is a necessity for our community. Within time, we hope that 100% of the 30-something bars downtown are certified. We hope that this reduces the high rates of sexual assault in our community. This is just one piece of the puzzle…

…there is hope, unity and strength among us.

News Report of Brothers Action : Protest at Brothers 3/8/14

Pre-Medically Denied

Image Credit: Photos.com

Image Credit: Photos.com

On this day I received notice that I am not mentally fit to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer. My heart and mind are racing. 18 months ago, I submitted my application to the Peace Corps. Since September 2012, I have dedicated everything that I am to this decision. If there was a clear direction I could go in, it would’ve been the Peace Corps. Even though I can appeal their decision, I cannot say whether I will. I wonder now if this is just resistance I must conquer or whether the universe is directing me elsewhere.

UPDATE: This afternoon, I spoke with the Peace Corps nurse practitioner that I have corresponded with. Looks like I will have to clarify a few things as my mental health history is paper-thin. Next week, I will be submitting an appeal. And because I’m not crazy, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the next month provides more answers than the last year and a half.

A Kiss She Eagerly Returned

india michael

It’s beautiful when you find someone that is in love with your mind. I’m terrified because you’re this fella. There is nothing more you need to be. One that deserve flowers on your doorstep and coffee in the morning. It’s about your beautiful, amazing, wonderful and fantastic personality. The plan was not to swoon over you when you kissed me. Unexpectedly you kissed me. Your laugh makes me smile, the way you talk gives me insight and seeing your name or your lovely face gives me butterflies.  I have a personal craving for your smile, your hands gripped around my hips and your warm body pressed against mine. You are someone I’m not afraid to admit that I miss. I’m under your spell. I have lost hours of sleep just so that I can talk to you. Those kisses have left my head spinning and my insides smoldering. I love the build up. When touching turns to grabbing. Soft lips into passionate kisses. You deserve honesty every day and to be kissed every hour. You remind me of romance and of long walks in warm sand.  You deserve to be reminded how beautiful you are. When I look back into your eyes, I’m terrified. Your heart beats faster… and faster. I can’t remember being this happy. 

Intro To Granny Squares Workshop

Dual Color Granny Square

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to crochet then this workshop is for you! I will teach you the basic techniques of crochet during this 3 hours beginner’s workshop. You’ll leave this class with new skills and your very own granny square. Granny squares are the basis for endless project possibilities. With variations in color combinations, you can make granny squares look vintage or modern. They can also be made with any size crochet hook and any type of yarn.

In this workshop you’ll learn how to hold the hook and yarn, make a slip knot, do a chain stitch, single, double and treble stitch and stitch in the round. Finally, we’ll be guided through creating a granny square. It’s super hip to be square!

This workshop will be at Home Ec. Workshop on the North Side of Iowa City, IA. 207 N. Linn Street. (319) 337-4775. Workshop held on Thursday, February 20th from 5:30-8:30P. $30 does not include yarn and hook. (Happily sold at Home Ec.) Call to RSVP. Feel free to direct workshop related question to me :)

29 New Things As Of My 29th Birthday

1. Celebrating your birthday is as necessary as expressing gratitude.

2. Having a social life without social networking sites. (Really, I’m trying.)

3. Enjoying whatever status you’re now in without telling a soul.

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4. Being festive, dressing up and feeling comfortable.

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5. Indie movies, documentaries and Tedtalks.

6. Productive days off.

7. A monthly budget.

8. Calling friends for no reason. Everyone needs a little TLC.

Say Anything.

Say Anything. Anything at all.

9. A morning routine.

10. Daily walks.

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11. Passion, direction or depth.

12. Be your best friend.

13. Don’t feel any shame or embarrassment about pleasing yourself.

14. Reputation. Think about where you want to be and where you are. Some people make goals and some don’t. One thing to keep in mind, today is all you have, but today can and will affect your tomorrow if you’re reckless.

15. Be comfortable alone, but don’t be lonely.

16.Remember, you always have a choice.

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17. Let go of the things you cannot control.

18. Find your creative side, your DIY side or any side you haven’t explored. Experiment with what you love.

19. Live your life. Don’t sell yourself short.

20. Simplify & minimize.

21. Change your appearance.

22. Disconnect.

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23. Read more books.

24. Drink warm water in the morning.

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25. Practice mindfulness, meditation or any form of relaxation.

26. Eat well & practice mindful eating.

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27. Seize opportunities.

28. Balance your life.

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29. Get enough sleep.

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This January, was the first time I celebrated my birthday. I am so grateful to have opened my eyes to all the love around me.  I am amazingly grateful for my life, my friends and everything that has helped me get here. To keep that smile pasted a little while longer, here is Buzz Feed’s 30 Signs You’re Almost 30. It makes me laugh every time.